The launch of Peugeot's 508 sedan and wagon three years ago marked a return to mainstream styling.

The big, frog-mouthed grille was ditched in favour of more restrained, conservative frontal look that was aimed to have wider appeal. After an initial flurry of activity, sales began to falter, falling to just 357 last year and leaving the car sitting fifth in its category — nowhere near the 1100 it sold in its first full year.

Explore the 2015 Peugeot 508 Range

A replacement for both the 407 and 607, the 508 was far from a bad car but it arrived just when the market's appetite for large sedans was shrinking (ask Ford and Holden).

Fast forward and Peugeot boss John Startari reckons the company's original offering was not as strong as it could have been. The new 508 brings new positioning, with a boost in equipment for the base Active and mid-level Allure.

Satnav and rear-view camera are now standard, as are a new seven-inch touchscreen, 8GB music jukebox, LED daytime running lights and fog lights, electric boot release and in the rear, sunblinds, armrest with cupholders and map lights. The car is 38mm longer, with LED headlights for the top of the range GT and head-up display on some models.

The Active sedan is priced from $37,990, an increase of $1000 but with a claimed $4000 in extra value. The Allure diesel is $45,990 and the GT diesel is $58,490. Add $3000 for the Touring wagon. Stop-start is standard across the range, as is an Aisin six-speed auto with paddle shifts.

 The 1.6 has a sporty note and livelier performance but the wagon with a frugal diesel would make an excellent touring device as the name suggests.

Driving 

We got to drive the Active 1.6-litre turbo and the 2.0-litre Allure turbo diesel. The 1.6 has a sporty note and livelier performance but the wagon with a frugal diesel would make an excellent touring device as the name suggests.

Power from the petrol engine has been boosted from 115kW to 121kW with the same 240Nm of torque, propelling the car from 0-100km/h in 8.9 secs but it feels faster than this. It is far less thirsty, claiming 5.8L/100km, down from 7.1L.

The petrol model shines in the cut and thrust of corner-to-corner motoring, with adaptive electro-hydraulic steering and excellent brakes.